The Difference between Intel Core i3 vs Core i5 vs Core i7

Intel Core i3

Codenamed: Clarkdale (Westmere)
Fabrication: 32 nm
Instruction set: X86, X86-64, MMX, SSE 4.2
Socket: LGA 1156
Bus: Direct Media Interface
RAM: DDR3
Chipset Support: P55, H55, H57, Q57

Intel Core i5

Codenamed: Lynnfield (Nehalem), Clarkdale (Westmere)
Fabrication: 45 nm, 32 nm
Instruction set: X86, X86-64, MMX, SSE 4.2
Socket: LGA 1156
Bus: Direct Media Interface
RAM: DDR3
Chipset Support: P55, H55, H57, Q57

Intel Core i7

Codenamed: Bloomfield (Nehalem)
Fabrication: 45 nm
Instruction set: X86, X86-64, MMX, SSE 4.2
Socket: LGA 1366
Bus: Quick Path Interconnect
RAM: DDR3
Chipset Support: X58

Intel Core i3

The Core i3 processors are dual core processors based on the Clarkdale (Westmere) architecture. They have a 32 nm fabrication and work with LGA 1156 socket motherboards. Direct Media Interface (DMI) replaces FSB in the Core i3 processors, unlike the faster Quick Path Interconnect in the Core i7 processors. They have clock speeds ranging from 2.93 to 3.06 GHz. They have 2×256 KB L2 cache and 4 MB L3 cache. They are compatible with these chipsets – P55, H55, H57, Q57. They don’t support Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking) unlike the Core i5 and Core i7. They also have an Integrated graphics processor. They also have Hyperthreading support.

Intel Core i5

There are two types in Core i5 – Dual core and Quad Core. The dualcore Intel Core i5 processors are similar to the Core i3s while the quadcore Core i5s are much closer to the Core i7 in terms of features.

DualCore Core i5 Processors – They are based on the Clarkdale (Westmere) architecture like the Core i3. They also have a 32 nm fabrication and work with LGA 1156 socket motherboards. Direct Media Interface (DMI) replaces FSB in the Core i5 dualcore processors. They have clock speeds ranging from 3.2 to 3.6 GHz. They have 2×256 KB L2 cache and 4 MB L3 cache. They are compatible with these chipsets – P55, H55, H57, Q57. They support Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking). They also have an Integrated graphics processor and also include Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking). They also have Hyperthreading support.

QuadCore Core i5 Processors – They are based on the Lynnfield (Nehalem) architecture similar to the Core i7. They have a 45 nm fabrication and work with LGA 1156 socket motherboards. Direct Media Interface (DMI) replaces FSB in the Core i5 quadcore processors. There are 2 processors with clock speeds of 2.4 and 2.66 GHz. They have 4×256 KB L2 cache and 8 MB L3 cache. They are compatible with these chipsets – P55, H55, H57, Q57. They do support Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking). However they don’t support Hyperthreading and don’t have a Integrated Graphics Processor.

Intel Core i7

They are the most powerful of the lot. They are based on the Bloomfield (Nehalem) architecture. They have a 45 nm fabrication and work with LGA 1366 socket motherboards. They have Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) which is faster than both DMI in Core i3/i5 and FSB. They are native quad cores which offer the best performance. They have 4×256 KB L2 cache and 8 MB L3 cache. They are compatible with the X58 chipset. They support Turbo Boost (dynamic overclocking) and Hyperthreading (8 virtual cores). However they don’t have an Integrated Graphics Processor.

All the three – Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 comes with Smart Cache (cache sharing between two cores) and support hardware virtualization.

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